Radical Stuff - “Everyone who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles” (Acts 4:34).
What was it that inspired the first Christian community to embrace such radical stewardship? None of the early Church members claimed that their possessions were their own. They understood the truth about stewardship – we don’t really own anything, it all comes from and belongs to God. One of the joys of stewardship comes from the confidence in knowing that God always provides for our material and spiritual needs (Matt 6:33). This belief frees us from uselessly worrying about of having enough!
“The kingdom is where God provides for all that we need. It is the realm of sufficiency where we are no longer pulled here and there by anxiety about having enough” (Henri J.M. Nouwen).
Armed with a God-grounded confidence, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the first Christians embraced radical stewardship and shared everything they had! Believing that everything we possess is a gift from God stirs up the virtue of gratitude in our hearts. Gratitude to God then inspires us to make a conscious and confident decision to share our gifts.
“Stewardship is sharing in gratitude not out of obligation or duty.”
When grateful hearts inspire giving, joy always accompanies the gift. Imagine how grateful the first Christians were? They had just received the incredible gift of a new life in Christ. The first followers were “all in” and their stewardship was rewarded both personally, “God greatly blessed his followers, and no one went in need of anything” (Acts 4:34) and as a community of believers, “each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). The example of stewardship we see in the Acts of the Apostles reminds us that stewardship is not new. Stewardship is God’s idea. It’s radical stuff, and God likes it.
Dan is the Director of Mission Advancement for the Companions of the Cross. You can contact Dan at 613-728-3175.